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Letters of a Woman Homesteader
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Letters of a Woman Homesteader

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by Elinore Pruitt Stewart, N. C. Wyeth (Illustrator)
 

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As a young widow with a small child, Elinore Pruitt left Denver in 1909 and set out for Wyoming, where she hoped to buy a ranch. Determined to prove that a lone woman could survive the hardships of homesteading, she initially worked as a housekeeper and hired hand for a neighbor — a kind but taciturn Scottish bachelor whom she eventually married.
Spring

Overview


As a young widow with a small child, Elinore Pruitt left Denver in 1909 and set out for Wyoming, where she hoped to buy a ranch. Determined to prove that a lone woman could survive the hardships of homesteading, she initially worked as a housekeeper and hired hand for a neighbor — a kind but taciturn Scottish bachelor whom she eventually married.
Spring and summers were hard, she concedes, and were taken up with branding, farming, doctoring cattle, and other chores. But with the arrival of fall, Pruitt found time to take her young daughter on camping trips and serve her neighbors as midwife, doctor, teacher, Santa Claus, and friend. She provides a candid portrait of these and other experiences in twenty-six letters written to a friend back in Denver.
Described by the Wall Street Journal as "warmly delightful, vigorously affirmative," this unsurpassed classic of American frontier life — enhanced with original illustrations by N. C. Wyeth — will charm today's audience as much as it fascinated readers when it was first published in 1914.

Editorial Reviews

The Wall Street Journal

Warmly delightful, vigorously affirmative.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
George provides biographical insight into the author of the 1914 pioneer classic Letters of a Woman Homesteader , giving a detailed presentation of Stewart's previously uncollected letters. Photos. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-After deciding that city life as a laundress wasn't for her, Elinore Pruitt, a young widowed mother, accepted an offer to assist with a ranch in Wyoming, work that she found exceedingly more rewarding. In this delightful collection of letters, she describes these experiences to her former employer, Mrs. Coney. Pruitt's charming descriptions of work, travels, neighbors, animals, land and sky have an authentic feel. The West comes alive, and everyday life becomes captivating. Her writing is clear, witty, and entertaining. The 26 letters are brief and tell about her life on the ranch in the early 1900s. The author frequently and unnecessarily apologizes for being too wordy; she begs forgiveness for many "faults," like being forgetful, ungrateful, inconsistent and indifferent, all without apparent cause. On occasion, language reflects the racial prejudice of the time. Many times, Pruitt attempts to portray the culturally diverse characters she meets by writing their various dialects as they sound. Kate Fleming's narration is as smooth as the writing, perfectly transitioning from one accent to the next. She reads with a calm, down-to-earth tone, which suits the writing well.-Kariana Cullen Gonzales, Lincoln Consolidated High School, Ypsilanti, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
New York Times Book Review
"Authentic records of Western ranch life—and more, for Mrs. Stewart had a born writer's talent."—New York Times Book Review
Western American Literature

"Mrs. Stewart was a woman whose nineteenth-century pioneer spirit seems to have been laced with a strong dose of twentieth-century liberation. Equally impressive is her ability to characterize the people around her."—Ann Ronald, Western American Literature

— Ann Ronald

Wyoming Horizons Magazine

"The letters show how important women were in frontier development. [Elinore Stewart's] energy, good works, sense of humor, courage, common sense, and humility win our admiration."—T. A. Larson, Wyoming Horizons Magazine

— T. A. Larson

Western American Literature - Ann Ronald
"Mrs. Stewart was a woman whose nineteenth-century pioneer spirit seems to have been laced with a strong dose of twentieth-century liberation. Equally impressive is her ability to characterize the people around her."—Ann Ronald, Western American Literature
Wyoming Horizons Magazine - T. A. Larson
"The letters show how important women were in frontier development. [Elinore Stewart's] energy, good works, sense of humor, courage, common sense, and humility win our admiration."—T. A. Larson, Wyoming Horizons Magazine
From the Publisher

"Full of the tang of the prairies and of a delightful personality." The New York Times

"Warmly delightful, vigorously affirmative," The Wall Street Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486451428
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Publication date:
06/30/2006
Series:
Dover Books on Americana Series
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
537,140
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author


Elinore Pruitt Stewart was born in 1878. Letters of a Woman Homesteader, first published in 1914, inspired the critically acclaimed movie Heartland.

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Letters of a Woman Homesteader 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
MoxieMary More than 1 year ago
It is unfortunate that some reviewers of this book failed to recognize its simplistic brilliance. Contemporary Americans have much to learn from the grit, resourcefulness and enveloping love of these wilderness characters. Elinore and her compatriots were the original American social service network, providing food, shelter and forgiveness for all in need within their range. Her wealth lay in the natural beauty surrounding her and the love of an extended motely family. I highly recommend this book for its message and the rich prose of someone who truly understands the "Christian values" I hear we all hold so dearly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though this primary source format has the potential to be strikingly inspirational to a reader, the content itself was bland in terms of accomplishing the goal of the book's publication. The letters written by Elinore Stewart are nothing more than letters to a former employer, with little meaning behind them. Her admirable qualities that were intended to stand out as components of revolutionary feminism are overshadowed by the unclear and vague accounts of her every day life, each letter growing more and more opaque to the reader's understanding as the piece drags on. The book would have likely been more of a success if written as a biography, as sometimes primary sources must be sacrificed for the overall comprehension and appeal to the audience.